Materials firm WL Gore that has strong Scottish presence named among UK’s top workplaces for women
The global firm whose products include resilient material Gore-tex, and which in Scotland has plants in Dundee and Livingston, says it has again been named one of the UK’s top workplaces for women.
W.L. Gore & Associates Inc, whose offering also encompasses electronics, industrial and medical products, and produced cables that aided Nasa rover Perseverance in landing on the surface of Mars, is among 60-odd large companies honoured in the UK’s Best Workplaces for Women 2022 Awards by Great Place to Work, which says it is the “global authority” on workplace culture.
The firm says it has several innovative enterprise initiatives that have supported its inclusion on the list, such as its Women's Inclusion Council, Gore Reaching Out to Women, and a company-wide celebration of International Women's Day.
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The Women’s Inclusion Council was formed this year to support the increased selection and success of female talent across the group, which globally currently stands at 10,500 workers – known as “associates” and all shareholders in the business.
Sheona Barlow from Dundee has worked for Gore for two-thirds of her life, starting as a plant receptionist the day after she finished school at 17 and rising to the role of plant leader, where she is the “figurehead” for 150 associates, at a facility with an almost equal gender split.
She said: “It’s thanks to the company culture set out from the very beginning that we’ve been recognised by Great Places to Work and Gore’s founders would have been delighted to see us achieve this accolade in 2022.
“Gore was founded by both Bill and his wife Vieve Gore in 1958, who wanted to create a place that believed in every individual and encouraged experimentation, healthy risk-taking, personal growth and development, and shared ownership for success. It’s not hard to see why being a woman at Gore never held me back.”
Efforts by the firm also include its IT team – one of its largest departments in the UK – forming a culture advocate network, with one of its main aims being to help new hires feel more integrated and included.
The organisation also recently introduced an equity champion role to its contribution process to ensure fair treatment of all regardless of age, race, gender, beliefs or ethnicity, and its associate-led diversity business networks also include Gore Pride Alliance, Gen-Y Network, and Associates at Gore with Experience.
Claire Crawford is enterprise data leader based at Gore’s Livingston plant and has been with the business for nearly a decade. Already one of the UK representatives on the Europe, the Middle East and Africa diversity equity and inclusion council, she has recently started to get involved with Gore’s Women in IT group.
She said: “Unconscious bias can really hold people back from realising their full potential, so it’s my mission to help people recognise their own unconscious biases and start to make more conscious choices to counteract them.
“Our enterprise is strongest when we tap into diverse talents and perspectives while driving toward a shared vision. We remain committed to nurturing an environment where we help each other grow and push the boundaries of what’s possible.”
The firm’s technology is used in everything from vascular grafts to car batteries, the retractable roof at Wimbledon’s Centre Court, and clothing worn on expeditions to Mount Everest.